For those of us that live in Southern California, it’s so important for our body and mind to take advantage of this beautiful weather. What better way to enjoy the day than spending it at the beach? You can soak up your Vitamin D from the sun, get your magnesium from the ocean air, and melt your stresses away. To make it even better, Brad Keimach teaches yoga classes on the beach, right at the water’s edge. His classes are by donation (min $10), so there’s no reason not to take advantage of the great exercise for your mind and body. Brad’s classes can be transformational, and have gained him a lot of media attention as of late. His beach classes have been featured as “Best of L.A.” by Los Angeles Magazine and LA Weekly. And if you don’t like the sand, you can find his classes at the renowned exhale Center for Sacred Movement in Venice.
I wanted to find out how Brad discovered his practice, so I was able to get an interview and find out.
How did you discover yoga?
“I had lived in Los Angeles for one year, and I had a conducting student over at the house. I don’t know why, but we were talking about jogging, and I told him I was getting bored with my jog around the neighborhood. And he said, ‘Oh, you should take a yoga class with my teacher Max.’ And I thought to myself, ‘Yoga? How Californian am I?’ But then I thought about it…I was so bored with running, and this guy taught Monday, Wednesday, Friday. So I figured I could take his classes, and then run the other days of the week. Fine. I didn’t know it was a level 2/3 class. I didn’t know anything! So I went to this class. And it was physically the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I came home, thoroughly wiped out. I made it home to the floor of my living room, and just, splat! For two days I lay like that. There’s no way I could have run Tuesday as planned. I went back to his Wednesday class, and came home, and again, splat! But what I did sense is that there was something else that was there, and I didn’t know what it was, but I wanted to find out. So I went to Max’s class 3 and 4 times a week until he left 8 years later. I’m sure I was his most loyal student. Every day he taught, I was there.
So what was the “something else” that you sensed? What else did you get from your yoga practice besides exercise?
The other aspect of yoga, which is primarily what I teach now, is how to teach the mind how to think. This is truly the cornerstone of a happiness practice, because what you think is where you live. It doesn’t matter what the external reality is, it’s what you think about. The mind has a tendency to think worst possible scenario, and that leads us down the path of enormous suffering. Mark Twain sensed this when he said; “I have suffered many misfortunes in my life, some of which actually happened.” So most of our misfortunes come from within, not without.
So what would you suggest as a way to keep our mind in a healthy place?
Staying present is the key. It’s not about the body; the body will get enough work during the physical practice. But that’s not the point.
Basically, the point is to have the mind do one’s own bidding. The mind is a lousy master and a wonderful servant. Most people live the other way…. they let the mind rule. That’s really a tough life.
There are definitely physical things that help certain physical ailments. One of my students had low back pain all the time, and she looks to be in exquisite physical shape. But she was hurting all the time, and I’ve shifted things for her. So there are physical things you can do to help certain physical ailments. Yoga is a stone that shouldn’t be left unturned. Even if it can’t fix a certain physical ailment, what you can acquire from a yoga practice is a way to talk to the mind, to teach the mind, again, how to think. It’s not a lost cause. It’s going to help other aspects of life.
Bio: “Beach Yoga with Brad” has been named “Best of 2012” by LA Weekly, “Best of L.A. 2012″ by Los Angeles Magazine, and one of the best “10 Outdoor Works in LA” by The Examiner. The classes also have a 5-star rating on Yelp. Brad has studied Hatha yoga with Max Strom, Saul David Raye, Sarah Powers, Georg Feuerstein, Gabriella Giubilaro, and Tias Little. He has taught yoga at Exhale since it’s opening and has also instructed at Maha Yoga, Dance Home, and Brentwood Yoga. For Brad, yoga is a transformational and healing practice for and from the heart. This is what inspires and motivates him to share this path with others. With a background as a symphony and opera conductor, Brad has been profoundly influenced in his life and teaching by the heart-first example of his mentor, Leonard Bernstein. “Like” his page of facebook, and you will receive updates on his beach yoga classes: http://www.facebook.com/beachyogawithbrad